Plays that count:
- Every snap that has the cornerback in man coverage no matter where the ball is thrown.
- The above includes sacks, quarterback scrambles and plays where the defensive back has safety help.
- Every snap in zone coverage where a one-on-one situation is naturally created. For example, a sideline route from a wide receiver who lined up directly across from the cornerback when that cornerback is covering the deep third in Cover-3.
Plays that don’t count:
- Screen plays. Even if the receiver isn’t part of the screen, these plays do not count.
- Plays where either the receiver or cornerback doesn’t follow through his whole assignment.
- Zone plays that don’t create one-on-one situations. Any ambiguity in this area will disqualify a play.
- Any prevent coverage situations.
- Receptions in the flat without a route run.
- Running plays, including designed quarterback runs.
The ball does not have to be thrown in the defensive back’s direction for the coverage to fail. This is NOT an analysis of how many completions the cornerback allowed; that can be found elsewhere. This is an analysis of how good his coverage is on any given play.
Failed coverages can come at any point of the route, but it is dependent on where the players are on the field in relation to the quarterback. Typically, defensive backs must be within arm’s reach for underneath/intermediate routes. On deeper passes, there is greater leeway given to the defender.
Failed coverages can be subjective. They must be determined by the situation considering the length of the play and other such variables.
This is the opposite of a failed coverage. In order to be “In position,” a defensive back has to be in a position to prevent a relatively well-thrown pass to his assignment.